By Patti Johnson

Patti has been volunteering with Care for Pastors with The Confidante for Pastors’ Wives for 7 years after she and her husband received counsel from Care for Pastors as a way to give back to the ministry. She joined the Care for Pastors staff in January 2020. Patti is one of the administrators of The Confidante Private Facebook group for pastors' wives and is a regular contributor to weekly blogs. She loves to use her gifts and abilities to support the needs of the ministry. Patti has been married to her Pastor husband Keith for 36 years. They have 3 adult children who all to their delight live in Florida.

    A Contented Life

    Monday, February 19, 2024

    Some time ago I came across a short article that Dave Ramsey wrote titled “10 Benefits of Being Thankful.” One of the 10 things was “Thankfulness creates Contentment.” And then to further emphasize the point, this quote by his daughter, Rachel Cruz, “In a heart filled with gratitude, there is no room for discontentment.”

    That got me interested in being more content by being more thankful. Actively thankful, actively content. That led me to working and writing through his list of the 10 benefits.

    We all know that the book of Philippians is the book of Joy as seen through the eyes of a contented Paul, from a dark, damp prison cell. If that environment can produce joy and contentment, then I thought I must be able to do that too.

    But it is not something passive, it is an active, purposeful, determined, and conscientious decision we make for our life year by year, month by month, day by day and perhaps at times, moment by moment. But it is possible to learn to live contented.

    I love anticipating a week of vacation, but I have learned that I also love the week after coming home. I have learned to pack with just what I need and find it very freeing to have made the choices ahead of time and then live the vacation time content with those choices. Very little second guessing and the adventure of making do if I did forget something or, perhaps for a moment, thought I made the wrong choice in what to bring. The week after vacation, I find myself trying to live with pared down choices. I have also found it’s a great week to rid myself of the abundance that builds up over time.

    What I have learned is that contentment is a choice you make, and one you make ahead of time.

    I believe Paul made that choice long before those prison walls enclosed around him.

    I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me (though you were concerned before but lacked opportunity to show it). I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment—both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need. Philippians 4: 10-12

    Below is the full list of the 10 benefits of being thankful, ultimately leading to a contented life. I suggest going through them one by one and writing down the personal benefits to you. Then when the temptation to be discontent comes, you will be reminded that you have left no room for it.  “In a heart filled with gratitude, there is no room for discontentment.”

    10 Benefits of Being Thankful – by Dave Ramsey 

    1. Thankfulness improves relationships
    2. Thankfulness creates contentment
    3. Thankfulness feels good
    4. Thankfulness keeps us healthy
    5. Thankfulness cultivates humility
    6. Thankfulness is contagious
    7. Thankfulness produces positivity
    8. Thankfulness promotes generosity
    9. Thankfulness increases likability
    10. Thankfulness = God’s character

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